Best Pianists of All Time

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The Top Ten

The other comments pretty much say it all! I have been a Yanni fan for over 25 years and have been to as many concerts as I can get to. In April 2011, we saw him followed by an unheard-of tour the very next year. I was lucky enough to see him twice in June 2012, to have attended my first Fan Event dinner, and especially to have inadvertently crashed rehearsal and chatted briefly with him from a distance! Meeting some of the world-class orchestra members at the dinner and finally meeting Charlie Adams after the concert made the night. Mary Simpson is from very near where I live and she was a joy. Sarah O'Brien, as lovely as always, was also generous with her time. Yoel del Sol has the most adorable smile, and they all were patient while group and individual photos were taken. Thanks also to Krystal Vinck with PR who brought "Santorini" and handed her off to my cousin who was wearing the Santorini shirt from the concert two nights before! I know Pam hated to part with Santorini! I still wish to meet Ming Freeman and, of course, Yanni himself. As he has said, "Dreams do come true. " I am a firm believer of that and am awaiting my day! He is the first musician yet to compose and play music that reaches right into my soul! Although it seems as though the American audiences won't have another tour this year as promised, I am so happy that worldwide audiences get to experience the concert LIVE. There is nothing to compare with a LIVE concert! Come back to America on tour again soon, Yanni! We all love you!
"Yanni live at the Acropolis" was his finest hour as a pianist, no doubt about that. Despite playing among the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and some world class band members, including a terrific Karen Briggs on violin, Yanni was in my opinion the best and most accomplished performer on the night. Here, he showcased all of his qualities as a pianist/keyboardist: musicality, sensitivity, technique, motoric skills, attention to detail, virtuosity, passion, accompaniment skills, courage, humility, ability to connect with the audience. Another great example of his abilities as a musician is the "In My Time" album - it's full of beautiful, deep piano solo pieces which will warm your heart and heal your soul. Yanni is without a doubt one of the best pianists of our time.
It's probably a once-a-century (or millennia) event that someone rises somewhere in the world; shoots up and keeps on going. Let's not forget that Yanni is a self-educated accomplished musician; his "musical shorthand" is an astoundingly innovative method to make oneself able to read music. He didn't stop at his inability to read conventional notes, but made his own notes to jump over that barrier -- simply amazing! And for someone who could do that, I'm not least astonished that he could come this far, to stand in the foreground of best world musicians and public performers. Yanni's psychology major is probably a contributing element in his success at conveying his music directly to the soul. Yanni you've been my #1 inspiration source and musical delight since August 1993, and still occupy that stature till this very day, 20 years later. God has indeed blessed such wonderful children of His; may He keep you both physically and spiritually, and shower you with His graces. Thank you for being Yanni.
George Afara - Lebanon.
Wait a minute; bear with me please, I have to say this: now I realize (reading Yanni's bio) why I found John Tesh's style so like Yanni's when he released "Live at Red Rocks" back in the nineties -- he toured with Yanni and Charlie Adams back in 1988. Case dismissed.
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2Franz Liszt
Stunning technical ability- outstanding musicality evidenced in his compositions- years and years of time to evidence that he did indeed leave a lasting legacy- Franz Liszt must be very highly regarded in any list of pianists.
First of all yanni on top come on man. a person with 0.1% knowledge in this field will tell you that's LIszt perhaps was and is still the best pianist of all time although chopin sir would come close but the Liszt is probably the only man till this date who has fully satisfied his girlfriends!
Yanni is a modern pianist. How can he even be compared to the classical greats? The technical brilliance and the incredible composing and improvising abilities of the virtuosic pianists of the classical and romantic era simply cannot be put against some 'nice sounding' music. With all due respect to every other musician, Beethoven is the greatest composer ever and Franz Liszt is the greatest pianist ever.
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3Ludwig van Beethoven
Timeless pieces, flawless execution of emotion through music... How do you beat that?
He is my favorite pianist ever!
He is a great piano player he has great piano pieces like fur Elise
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4Elton John
Elton John was accepted at Royal Music Academy at 11 for playing a thirteen sheet piece by Chopin that he had never seen before without any mistake, I believe. He kept playing pieces by heart that he had heard once. Is there anything left to be said?
I agree that Elton is supremely talented. An all time great. But people who never heard of Vladimir Horowitz should never ever be taken seriously when discussing great pianists. Oh by the way. Yanni descrIbed Elton John as the most talented and improvisational pianistt he's ever heard. Personally I believe van cliburn should be at the top of any list
I think elton john is the best Piano Player of the world

Sanjay Gupta
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5Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
It is blasphemous that mozart isn't number 1. Absolutely blasphemous.
It is all opinion. But I have to say Mozart is a master at piano.
Mozart is the beast
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6Frederic Chopin
He s obviously the greatest pianist in the world. End of Story.
Chopin always first and then we can make a "list".
Man who wrote poems with the piano
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7Billy Joel
Billy Joel - nobody compares.
He shouldn't be on this list in the first place in all honesty.
I mean, I like Billy-Boy, but his skill with pianos is third-rate, maybe second-rate, on a good day.

He's a great entertainer though.
Sing us a song you're the Piano Man

8William Joseph
I was so fortunate to have seen William Joseph in concert. His music takes us on this great emotional journey leaving us inspired and rejuvenated. He is a great pianist, composer, songwriter and a wonderful person. He started composing at the age of five. Some of the fan favourites are his Piano Fantasy, Within, Sweet Remembrance of You. His latest collection of beloved hymns is a masterpiece. His rendition of Asturias is by far the best I've heard. If you haven't heard him yet please do watch his videos on YouTube. He is legendary and he will be remembered for generations to come.
He is the best pianist ever! His albums inspire all of his listeners, and bring such a joy to the world. I think he should be number one on this list! He is young, charming, and well rounded. My most favorite pianist ever. :-) Keep rocking it William!
William Joseph is an amazing piano player! He is passionate about it and it shows! I love his albums! They are wonderful and bring my family and I so much happiness! Plus, he is an amazing man!
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9Sergei Rachmaninov
Rachmaninov's tonality and perfect clarity earn him the number one spot on this list (in my opinion). I think that Joel and John are talented, but really shouldn't be close to the top 5. Yanni is talented, but again, he's no where near as talented as Rachmaninov.

Furthermore, Rachmaninov's command of theory and timing is impeccable. Additionally, as seen with his predecessor Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov's use of theme and the changes thereof within a piece is so masterful it seems as if he is strategically making the audience feel a specific way, just so he can make them feel different later on.
Well... This pool shows only that mainstream music is dominating and that's why they vote for it. Of course, that Rachmaninov is the best pianist we can listen to...

What about Freddy? He himself said that he was always scared of playing piano in concerts, because of mistakes... What about Elthon John comparing for example Horowitz?..
Why the hell is Rachmaninov number 27? He is the Paganini of the piano, or the Einstein of science. There's no question that he is the best to ever exist.
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10John Lennon
John lennon? Really? TheTopTens lists always ends up being a popularity contest, smh

The Contenders

11Vladimir Horowitz
Horowitz is the greatest pianist, period. How on earth is it that he being beat by a music school DROPOUT. Horowitz had technically mastery, but also complete control over his dynamics. Just listen to his version of Movement 3 of the Moonlight sonata, a piece a doubt Elton John could even play.
Horowitz' touch was not of this earth. He is hands down, no pun intended the winner here.

And YANNI Before BEETHOVEN? Are you insane? Did you receive a blow to the head lately? Wow.
This one is the king..
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12Artur Rubinstein
This guy's an interpreting genius! He should be in the top 10, at least.

13Oscar Peterson
Fabulous technique and unique interpretation, my favourite pianist
Definitely Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum, obviously a jazz fan and Fur Elise by the way is a very simple piece of music, my 11 year old niece plays it perfectly. Please don't comment if you are not a musician.

14Johann Sebastian Bach
How have we all forgotten about the one who innovated it all? Look at pieces like Toccata and Fugue and My Jesus! Oh What Anguish and the intricate playing that went into them. This guy was know for using a stick in his mouth to hit extra keys after he had already used all of his fingers.

15Emil Gilels
One of the most gifted pianists of all time.

16Ferucco Busoni

17Art Tatum
Art could play anything the rest of these people composed add his own improvisationin the middle and finish with whatever he started. The others could even keep up.
Listen to his rendition of Tiger Rag. Incredible technique.
Even his peers called him the best of all time in any style.
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18Ming Freeman
Ming is, as Bette Midler sang, the "wind beneath the wings" of Yanni. The best pianists and keyboardist I have had the pleasure to hear in contemporary times.
He is able to play any genre of music. In one week, I heard him play blues, rock and roll and accompany a Chinese harpist. Very talented and very versatile. Also, a very kind and gentle person.

19Sviatoslav Richter
His playing abilities can only be compared to Horowitz and Rachmaninoff. He also had GREAT memorization and gave his heart to his music.

20Josef Lhevinne

21Blind Tom Wiggins

22Moriz Rosenthal
No doubt! Yanni is the best! Yanni Chryssomallis! He touches the world's heart! And he learned by own! Autodidact!

23Jerry Lee Lewis

24Claude-Achille Debussy

25Jiří Malásek

26Rudolph Serkin

27Alicia de Larrocha

28Adele Marcus

29Lang Lang
CNN said he is the most famous classical artist of all times. Beating out Pavarotti. CNN also said he is more famous than The Beatles. Don't take my word for it. Search for CNN's Lang Lang online.
Lang Lang is the worlds most amazing pianist in the 21 century! He is so fantastic.
Lang Lang is the best pianist in the world!

30Glenn Gould
Many of his Bach fuges and preludes are perfect. His Liszt/Beethoven symphony nr.5 is the best piano repertoire of all time.
For me, one of the best pianist

31Luigi Saracino

32Paul McCartney

33Adnan Sami

34Emily Bear
I don't know how explain her amazing piano playing. I like to her style.
Shes just amazing, no words can discribe how well she plays the piano.

35Marc-andre Hamelin
A triumphant pioneer of old music and the new. Has recording in nearly every area of piano with very approachable musicality and an indisputably profound technical proficiency. He is nothing short of sheer perfection; he is elegant, powerful, subtle, explicit.

36Vijay Venkatesh
Absolutely incredible pianist, I had the privilege of hearing him in cities across California. He will definitely become one of the legendary pianists of the 21st century.
Heavenly tone. Incredible poise and presence. My favorite pianist by far.

Definitely one of my favourites, everybody loves his works, he deserves to be in the top tens at least, or even the eleventh
YIRUMA ALL THE WAY! HE SHOULD BE #1! There is no doubt in my mind that Yiruma is the best pianist of all time.
My all time favorite song is river flows into you.
Seriously... listen to it, it's so peaceful.
I love his work.


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38John Ogdon

39Claudio Arrau
He's extremely talented pianist

Amazingly talented and a great entertainer!
Can play any type of music and make it enjoyable
Liberace is world class! I think he is the best!
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41Stephen Hough

42Evgeny Kissin
The greatest pianist ever to come out of Russia. His technique is phenomenal, his sound is unique. I love rock and roll, but Elton and Billy couldn't TOUCH this man's ability. Mad props to anyone that actually has a famous pianist on the list.
Kissin was a child prodigy who - so to speak - directed a whole famous Moscow orchestra at age 12 during several Chopin concerts. Never seen a child prodigy like him.
The guy is just flawless:) he is my personal favourite and I think he should rank top
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43Matthew Bellamy
Ultimately Brilliant. One of the greatest pianists alive.
Muse's driving force. Impeccable Pianist.
Flawless.. And heart-warming..
Songs Like "Explorers", "United states of eurasia", And "Starlight".
Matthew bellamy is a gifted pianist.
Incompatible with any other Rock artist who plays such exqusite piano.
Great. A legendary Pianist.
5 star to him.

44Martha Argerich
She's also hot (when she was younger of course)

45Fazil Say

A Turkish pianist and composer born in Ankara, Turkey.

46Jorge Bolet

47Idil Biret

48Valentina Lisitsa
She is the greatest!

49Yundi Li

50Chris Martin

51Scott Joplin

52Shura Cherkassky

53John Vesely
Cheer up John Vesely secondhand serenade or to get a crown in the competition is ok, you are the champion of the other winners, I support you to be the best, let's keep serenades and John Vesely is the Best, Ryan Cook is the excellent and Tom Broyfogle is expert

54Hiromi Uehara
Just listen to her once.. I m sure you'll fall in love with her.. She is the most talented jazz pianist I've ever heard

55Ralph Sharon

56Rick Wakeman

57Tim Rice-Oxley
Best Emotion KEANE best nice good amazing world number one
Must be the most enthusiastic pianist in a while.

58Omar Khairat
! How is he not one of the top 10. So far I've never met anyone who'd say they've listened to Omar khairat music cause the correct phrase is " I've fallen in love with Omar khairat's music". His compositions will surly do nothing but touch the very depths of your soul. Listen to The Case of Am Ahmed to better know this heart-churning artist, then you'd understand where he really belongs on this list.

59Krystian Zimerman

60Georgii Cherkin

61Richard Wright

62Ben Folds
Deserves to be in top 20 at least. The best rock n' Roll Pianist of the last 20 years.

63Mike Shinoda
Mike is one talented person i"ve ever seen..and a great pianist too

64Harry Connick Jr.

65Freddie Mercury
He is awesome I absolutely love him and I'm 10 wel I've loved him since I was 10
Okay, so I was like, Imma go see a list of best pianists! It'll be great! I'm sure Freddie Mercury will be high on the list! Now that I have seen that he isn't even ON the list, I no longer appreciate life.

66Keith Emerson

67Benny Andersson

68Stephan Moccio

69Gabriela Montero

70Władysław Szpilman

71Leopold Godowski

72Jozef Kapustka
Polish pianist, a true phenomenon of versatility.

73Joe Zawinul

74George Gershwin

75Bruce Hornsby

76Ludovico Einaudi

77Joni Mitchell

78Jeffrey Biegel

79Clara Schumann

80Jan Lisiecki

81Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev

82John Field

An Irish composer who actually came up with the concept of Nocturne admired by Frédéric Chopin, who subsequently made the piano nocturne famous.

83Andre Mathieu

84Johann Nepomuk Hummel

85Gyorgy Sebok

86Jennifer Thomas

87Yuhki Kuramoto

88Nikolai Lugansky

89Glen Hardin

90Elijah Bossenbroek

91Jon Schmidt

92David Nevue

93Olga Kern

94Adrian Lee

95Hélène Grimaud

96Bryan Pezzone
This man can play the most difficult classical pieces and then turn around an improvise an amazing jazz session and everything in between. Why he isn't more well known is a mystery to me. See him this summer at the California Philharmonic on August 10.

97Yann Tiersen

98Radu Lupu

99David Bryan

100Ayşe Taşpınar

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This list was created 4 years, 253 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list contains 121 items, has been remixed 7 times.

Updated Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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